Wee Tam's Review
A gentle breath of wind rustles blades of grass along the bank, a sudden splash signals the presence of a salmon and a resident barn owl sweeps its territory, ghost-like on wide, pale wings. It's my final evening at Millsyde and wee Tam and I are soaking in a last bit of the wonderful peace of the farm, down by the beautiful river Tweed. It's been a wonderful few days, a perfect mixture of lazy days enjoying the natural tranquillity of our immediate environs and our wonderful holiday home, alternated with exploration of the lovely countryside, nearby historic buildings and attractive local towns.
This afternoon saw me returning from nearby Kelso along the little mill lane to the farm on my bike after a day spent exploring the beautiful grounds and gardens of majestic Floors Castle, with wee Tam peeping out from his basket at the front. Tam can run fast but not fast enough to keep up with two wheels! Dogs are welcome everywhere at Floors except inside the castle and restaurants but we sit outside the cafe for our refreshments, where there is water provided for canine companions.
Sir Walter Scott called Kelso the 'most beautiful town in Scotland' and I'm inclined to agree as I stop to admire the castle overlooking the river Tweed, the Rennie Bridge and the lovely cobbled market square edged by fine Georgian and Victorian buildings.
Back at Millsyde, I appreciate again how much thought and effort Sue has put into making the cottage so attractive and comfortable and think wistfully that I would love her to come and wave her magic wand over my own home and make it as lovely as this. She certainly has a natural eye for design and colour and has created beautiful and relaxing spaces where warm, natural wood and bright jewel colours complement each other perfectly and lift the spirits. We have lingered over breakfasts and dinners in the wonderfully bright and spacious open plan living area, looking out to the garden and countryside and relaxed in comfort and luxury in the large sitting room, where gold and electric blue furnishings set off rich, blond wood and leather. Nights have been wonderfully peaceful, cosseted in lovely, comfy beds, waking each day to the beautiful views from our bedroom windows.
Attracted by the rather unusual name, we decided to have a look at recently restored 16th century Fatlips Castle, in its fantastic position at the top of Minto Crags - another nice run about for wee Tam. Fatlips is said to have obtained its name from the rather enthusiastic greeting given by its inhabitants to guests and it is still a tradition that on entering the castle, gentlemen kiss the ladies!
On the subject of enthusiastic hosts, here at Hendersyde farm, Sue Beck could not have fulfilled that role better. We arrived to find the kettle on and a plate of delicious, warm rock cakes awaiting us; she has been the perfect, friendly hostess without being in the slightest bit intrusive and her attention to detail and personal touches have been greatly appreciated - and Tam received as warm a welcome as we did!